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became affected, attended with slight mental alienation, which continued till the 8th of January, when he expired. Notwithstanding the weather was extremely cold and unpleasant, his remains were followed to the grave on the 11th, by a vast concourse of friends and citizens, and by eighteen physicians from this and the neighboring towns. Such is a brief and very imperfect account of the life and character of Dr. Williams.
Doctor Thomas Williams was the second son of Col. Ephraim Williams, of Stockbridge. He was born at Newton, Mass. April 1st, 1718. I regret that I am not able to obtain more facts in relation to his history. He was educated at Yale College, and studied the profession of medicine with Dr. Wheat, of Boston. He settled at Deerfield, but the precise time at which he came here, I cannot ascertain ; but it was probably about the year 1739 or '40.
Dr. Williams was held in high repute, not only as a man of science, but as a physician and surgeon by the government of the country. In the French war which commenced in the year 1743, he was appointed surgeon in the army, in the projected expedition against Canada, which failed. He was afterwards surgeon of the chain of forts which extended from fort Dummer, at Vernon, in Vermont, to fort Massachusetts, at Hoosick, or Adams. These forts were situated one at Vernon, one or two at Bernardston, one at Colrain, one at Heath, one at Rowe, one at Adams, and one at Williamstown. Perilous indeed must it have been to visit these forts in an uncultivated and almost an uninhabited country, exposed to all the ravages and horrors of savage warfare. Little does the present generation know of the hardships and dangers which our fathers suffered in planting and defending the pleasant country we now occupy. Now that roads are established in the best possible manner in which they are capa
ble of being made across the back bone of New England, or Hoosick mountain, we think it a hardship to pass them. Think then of the difficulties which our fathers had to encounter in passing this mountain in a time of savage war, when there was no road but a horse path, when the country was a forest, and when they were continually exposed to the attacks of the Indians. Dr. Williams must often have been imminently exposed, for he was frequently obliged to visit these forts. It is related of him that a day or two before the capitulation of Fort Massachusetts, at Adams, at the west side, and at the foot of Hoosick mountain, which happened on the 20th of August, 1746, for some reason he obtained permission of the commandant of the garrison to return to Deerfield. At a little distance from the fort, he, with thirteen attendants, passed through a company of hostile Indians, who lay so near the road, on each side of it, that they could almost reach him with their guns; yet he never discovered them, and they let him pass unmolested. This fact was mentioned to him soon after the surrender of the fort, by an Indian. The fort capitulated soon after this, and had it not been for his absence, he probably would have been taken and carried to Canada, as were all the inmates of the garrison who were not murdered by the perfidy of the French and Indians. The reason they did not fire upon him, probably was on account of their fear of alarming the garrison. He was at Deerfield at the Barn fight, so called, which happened a few days afterwards, and dressed the wounded. (For an account of this action, see my History of the Indians of this place, Gen. Hoyt's Antiquarian Researches, and Williams' Redeemed Captive.)
In the war of 1755, he was surgeon of the army under Johnson, at Lake George, and was present on the day of the bloody morning scout, on the 8th of September, 1755. Heart rending must have been the news of the fall of a dearly beloved brother.* He was in the encampment at the head of Lake George, four miles
* Col. Ephraim Williams, who commanded the detachment, and was shot through the head early in the engagement. Col. Williams was the founder of Williams' College.
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from the scene of action. On the attack of Dieskan's troops upon the encampment the same day, he was incessantly engaged in dressing the wounded, and administering medicine for their relief, and he was constantly exposed to the fire of the enemy, and their bullets continually whistled about his ears. Dieskan was wounded in the bladder at this time, and taken prisoner. Of this wound he ultimately died in France. Dr. Williams dressed his wound, and attended upon him while he remained in camp. He afterwards fell under the care of a French surgeon. The Baron, while at Albany, expressed his regret that he could not have the attendance of Dr. Williams, as he believed he would have cured him. In 1756, he held the office of Lieutenant Colonel in one of the regiments at Lake George.
Dr. Williams always had an extensive practice in his profession. I have often heard our aged people speak of him with great respect and love. He was the only surgeon in his day in this part of the country. His ride was very extensive; of course his practice was extremely laborious. Dr. Pynchon, of Springfield, and Dr. Mather, of Northampton, were his cotemporaries. These were the principal physicians in the old county of Hampshire, which then included the county of Berkshire. He was often called into the states of Vermont and New Hampshire, even as far as Claremont, several miles north of Charlestown, which was then called No. 4. His practice as a surgeon must have been very considerable. He procured all the important instruments which were then used in the profession. His reading must have been extensive. He sent to Europe for the most approved authors in the profession of medicine; and his miscellaneous and literary library, it is believed, was not surpassed in this section of the country. He left to his children, besides many other most valuable works, a large edition of the Universal History, and twenty or thirty volumes of the London Magazine, one of the best works then extant.
He was held in high estimation not only as a man, but as a magistrate. He held the office of Justice of the Peace under the crown, and also that of Judge of Probate, and for many years he
held the office of town clerk, and many other important offices in
He educated several students in the profession of medicine, who became eminent and useful physicians. He was a firm believer in the truth of the doctrines of the christian religion, but not in the dogmas, or corruptions of it. He was a member of the Rev. Mr. Ashley's church, and was on terms of friendship with him. His death was occasioned by a quick consumption, brought on by a severe cold which he caught in the discharge of his professional duties. It happened on the 28th of September, 1775, in the 58th year of his age. May his descendants emulate his virtues, and imitate his good examples.
NATURE AND TREATMENT OF
BY CHARLES MACOMBER,
Fellow of the Society.
The disease is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the larynx, sometimes extending into the trachea and its ramifications. The shrill sound of the voice in this malady, resembling the sound of air passing through a brazen tube, probably arises from a spasm of the parts, not unfrequently inducing suffocation. Mere inflammation in some irritable habits may produce this suffocating spasm; but more commonly the inflammation is followed by the formation of a preternatural membrane, consisting of cither mucus, or lymph, evaporated to some degree of dryness by the heat of surrounding parts. This extraordinary membrane may com